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'The Biggest Loser's Gina McDonald: I let America see the blood but not my heart until the end


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/18/2013 

The Biggest Loser contestant Gina McDonald was eliminated from the show during last Monday night's NBC broadcast of the reality weight-loss competition's fourteenth season.

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During that same episode, The Biggest Loser determined Dannielle "Danni" Allen and Jeff Nichols as two of its three fourteenth-season finale finalists. Jackson Carter and Joe Ostaszewski were also given the chance to be voted into the live finale's $250,000 winner weigh-in by home viewers. The season finale airs tonight at 8PM ET/PT on NBC.

During a recent conference call with reporters, Gina talked about her The Biggest Loser experience and weight-loss journey.

Now what you've accomplished is amazing, but let's be honest, can you share your shock and disappointment about not making it into the finale after you were "the biggest loser" week to week?

Gina McDonald: You know, it wasn't a shock or disappointment, not really. I ended exactly where I was meant to be and I don't feel disappointed in myself at all. And I'm more proud of where I ended than I probably would have been if I had ended up a finalist. I think it's just -- it speaks words to my story there.

Can you compare who you see in the mirror now, Gina, compared to Gina before The Biggest Loser? I'm sure it's a totally different person inside and out.

Gina McDonald: Wow, it is. It's amazing, you know? [Bob Harper] said to me early on this season, "If you could see what I see in you," and I finally see it. I didn't see it for so long and I finally see what Bob sees. I see strong, courage, pride, not fearful -- those are things I see now. I was afraid before and not very proud of myself and had no direction or focus but that's all different now.

You just said that the ending spoke to your story. Could you elaborate on that just a little bit?

Gina McDonald: You know, I started the show being myself and opening up and letting America see all the emotions, all the things I struggled with. What America needed to see is my heart. I let them see everything else, I let them see the blood, I let them see the sweat, the tears, the injuries, the anger, the frustration, the fear, but I hadn't let America see my heart.

The people behind-the-scenes saw my heart, as evidenced in the last challenge when they all gathered and helped me up that hill, but America needed to see my heart. And they got their best chance to see my heart last night.

What did you think about watching yourself on TV this season and who people perceived you as?

Gina McDonald: You know, it was hard, especially Week 8. It was very hard to watch me -- it was hard. I cried the entire episode, to be honest with you. It brought back terrible memories of the pain I went through.

But, you know, obviously having gone through all that, I've come out in a much better place. And had it not been for those horrible painful memories, I wouldn't be where I am today. So it was tough to watch but I'm so thankful for the opportunity.

Is there anything in your background that you attribute to your tough exterior?

Gina McDonald: Yes, I'm a pretty feisty chick. I don't know if there's anything I would attribute it to, you know, I just -- I've always been a pretty aggressive woman and wanted to do well as a woman and I think that's a part of what you see.

And it's misplaced a little bit because it's the arena that we're in. It works very well for me in the courtroom when I'm aggressive, but not so much in a ranch when you're working with trainers who know a whole lot more about things than you do.

Can you bring us up to date with where you are on your weight loss today?

Gina McDonald: I can't tell you exactly where I am. Last night, the show announced I was 100 pounds down but Monday night, you'll find out exactly where I am. But I'm in a great place.

What was the first thing you did when you got home to Birmingham?

Gina McDonald: The first thing I did, well, I didn't get home until midnight, so I went home. I was picked up from the airport by my son and his best friend and my husband. I went home and I went to bed. It was a long flight home. That's what I did. And then the next day, I got up and went to Planet Fitness.

One thing that we saw especially on the episode where you did come back home, you led a workout. And we saw you last night taking your children to Subway and making those healthier choices. Are you still doing something like that? Are you leading any workouts and do you have anybody else involved in your fitness?

Gina McDonald: I'm not leading the workouts, I'm actually being led and trained in Nashville by [a man who goes by] the name of Carter Hayes, who trained The Biggest Loser Season 11's [Hannah Curlee], who came in second -- several contestants.

And I'm really -- I'm up here training in Nashville and have a great group of people that support me. They're all flying up to LA to support me this week. And the support and love I've felt throughout the country is overwhelming, but in Nashville in particular, they've taken me under their wing and made me feel like one of their own.



(Photo credit NBC)


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